The BwO Condition or, The Politics of Sensation

This text had been written directly in English for the Symposium TransArt IV, « Theorie und Praxis des organlosen Körpers » (Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Wien, 8-10 november 2001) and published in E. Alliez, E. von Samsonow (Hg.), Biographien des organlosen Körpers, Wien, Turia + Kant, 2003, p. 11-29. This is the forth volume of the TransArt Series edited by Eric Alliez and Elisabeth von Samsonow.
« S’élever en esprit pour voir les choses sous l’aspect exclusif d’esprit c’est en réalité ne plus rien voir. » (Antonin Artaud)

« Mich provoziert jede glatte Fläche, sie mit intensivem Lieben zu beschmutzen. [… Ich zerreiße die Haut der Fläche und Krieche darunter ins Intrem. » (Otto Mühl)

The Body without Organs has to hurt.
And it hurts the philosopher.
And it’s a hard blow.
Body without Organs.
Artaud’s Body without Organs – an affective, an intensive, an anarchic relation of the body to forces (it hurts), relations to forces qua becomings (when it works) – To Have Done With the Judgement of God and Its Power of Organ-isation Ad Infinitum.
BwO – A fashionable logo, an up-to-date trademark, a badge of membership ?
A new scholasticism ? A schizo-scholasticism ?
As such it hurts, it hurts the « Deleuzian » philosopher caught in a trap.
As neurotic anti-production, as imitation without invention, as repetition without forces and differences, as logo(s), this refrain of the BwO hurts.
But it does not hurt as the Body without Organs has to hurt me as a philosopher, because it does not dis-organ-ise my (supposed) philosophical identity.

Quoting Deleuze and Guattari, the BwO vulgate hurts because
« Becoming is not imitating » ;
because
« No problem of meaning, but only of usage » ;
because
« To chant viva the Multiple is not to do it. We have to make it. We have to make thought become nomadic » ;
because
« The cheat has a real future but no becoming at all »…

An anti-productive schizo-scholasticism[[I use this locution in a very immediate and primitive way, as a sort of « phenomenological » description of this new oedipian « D&G » territoriality, which has nothing to do with Keith Ansell Pearson’s use of this term when he writes that Difference and Repetition produced a « unique ‘schizo-scholasticism’ », cf. K.A. Pearson, Germinal Life, The difference and repetition of Deleuze, London-New York, Routledge, 1999, p. 2. has alimented the reaction against Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus which considers them as dated by-products of ’68 thought. And we know how many people would like ’68 to have exclusively been the phantasm of some mauvais maîtres…
Foucault in his preface to the English translation of Anti-Oedipus wrote that being-Anti-Oedipal had become a life-style. But a life-style is neither a fashion nor a hyper-textual exegesis. In a Foucaldian sense, it is an art, an art de soi :
« I think that Anti-Oedipus can best be read as an “art”. [… Questions that are less concerned with why this or that than with how to proceed. How does one introduce desire into thought, into discourse, into action? [… Anti-Oedipus is a book of ethics. »[[Michel Foucault, Preface to Anti-Oedipus, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1983 , p.xii-xiii. In a text published in 1983, « L’écriture de soi », Foucault also understands the « aesthetics of the existence » as an « ethopoiethics » ; re-edited in M. Foucault, Dits et écrits, vol. IV, Paris, Gallimard, 1994, p. 415-430.

From the Anti-Oedipus the Body without Organs is the point of crystallisation of a contradictory and paradoxical movement. On one side, a neurotic hyper-textuality unable to put the forces infolded in the text to work in a productive inside/outside (in a Deleuzian manner). On the other, a viral and rhizomatic diffusion of the thousand plateaus of Deleuzo-Guattarian thought. Involving non-philosophers, involving artists. We can’t ignore the fact that now, in France, more artists read Deleuze and Guattari, the books signed by Deleuze and Guattari, than academic philosophers, as if philosophy as a disciplinary institution must not risk itself in this experimentation. These non-philosophers give Deleuze and Guattari’s thought a new earth, they actualise philosophy – philosophy, nothing but philosophy in its constitutive relation to the present – in a process of change which involves their lives and their works. This experimental reading/becoming of/in Capitalism and Schizophrenia, means that for them abandoning the Marxist orthodoxy, Psychoanalysis, and Structuralism has never been a « real » problem. What is real is the becoming « itself » – what has been ignored, denied by these, yes, reductive theories.

Let’s come back to the extreme difficulty of the philosopher in front of the Body without Organs, for the first cruelty of the BwO, of this expulsive formula of Antonin Artaud, is against the Philosopher.

Prior to Anti-Oedipus Deleuze wrote some beautiful books, books already in a relationship of constant excess to the institutional « History of Philosophy » : on Hume, Nietzsche, Bergson, Spinoza, Kant as the « enemy » (his expression)… These works will be implied and employed in the first elaboration of the Deleuzian system, Difference and Repetition. But, as Deleuze himself said, talking about this « pre-Guattarian » period, everything may have been conceptually consistant, formally developed and argued, but anyway it was still strangely innefficient. Going one step further, the retrospective effect is this one : moving towards a formal definition of the BwO, the logic of the system remained prisoner of the pure form of the determinable in thought, as the philosophical neurosis. (We know how it hurts to get free of it – a perpetual fight against me.) And the fact is that Difference and Repetition will be immediately followed by this very unique book, The Logic of Sense, where the BwO emerges for the first time, with Artaud’s physical words, in the middle of a process it breaks – the project of a structuralist logic of sense – leading to an aporetic end, an end which will require and announce the work with Guattari…
See what Deleuze declared about this period in an interview immediately after the publication of Anti-Oedipus.
« I was working exclusively in concepts and I have to admit in a very timid, in a very self-conscious way. Felix talked to me about what he called the desiring machines. It was all a theoretical and practical conception of the unconscious as a machine, it was a conception of a schizophrenic unconscious. Then I had the impression that he was more advanced. »[[Gilles Deleuze, « Entretien sur l’Anti-Œdipe » [1972, Pourparlers, Paris, Minuit, 1990, p. 24 ; [Negotiations, p. ?

The question of a gap between a before and an after (the works with Félix Guattari) is made more complex inasmuch as in Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980) Deleuze and Guattari propose two definitions of the BwO – (1) A BwO is an egg, (2) The Body without Organs is the Ethics of Spinoza – which nominaly, discursively, pre-exist in a certain way these two books. The association of Simondon’s singular and pre-individual being with the intensive field of individuation of the egg in Difference and Repetition (1968) already identifies this problematisation (the problematic is the ontological state of the « pre-individual », and as such is opposed to the negative) as an ethics of the « trans-individual »[[See Deleuze’s article « Gilbert Simondon, L’Individu et sa genèse physico-biologique », Revue philosophique de la France et de l’Etranger, vol. CLVI, n° 1-3, janvier-mars 1966, p. 115-8 ; re-edited in G. Deleuze, L’Île déserte et autres textes (Textes et entretiens 1954-1974), Paris, Minuit, 2002, p. 120-4. Simondon’s book was published in 1964 (Paris, PUF) – it means (in terms of the Deleuzian chronology) exactly between Nietzsche et la philosophie (1962) and Le bergsonisme (1966). On the question of the egg, Deleuze’s constantly refers to A. Dacq, L’Œuf et son dynamisme organisateur, Paris, Albin Michel, 1941.. If we also consider the contemporaneous Spinoza and the Problem of Expression (1968) – with its Nietzschean and Bergsonian background -, it’s all there, the paradigmatic egg and the full centrality of Spinoza’s philosophy of pure immanence. And, en vérité, this double definition turns into a single one : the Spinozist Substance is a distribution of intensities at the surface of the Egg. Deleuze points towards this affirmation of intensity, without needing the BwO as such (but what this really means, as such, we don’t really know for the moment – we just imagine that it means the break between before and after), except as the possible common notion (to come) of this (still) nominal definition.

I would say, that for Deleuze, Spinoza is the philosopher who has been able to relate and identify for ever « Expressionism » (through his « theory of expression ») and « Constructivism » (the so-called « geometrical method ») because Spinozist Expression is the pure expression of univocity as the affirmation of the non-indifference and of the opening of Being. As I understand this point, it means that from Spinoza – a Spinoza with whom Nietzsche and Bergson never stopped to confront themselves… – Deleuzian philosophy has been a bio-philosophy in the modern and contemporary sense Deleuze gave to it (Expression = Construction qua the immanent truth, the truth of the immanence of the modern image of thought), and that Deleuze could have said, from this, the « best » plane of immanence, I hope that I’ll never write a single sentence which is not immediately a vitalist affirmation.

This notion of bio-philosophy involves vitalism as the constructive expression of a non-organic totality. It appropriates the founding figure of modern neo-Darwinism, August Weismann, and his formalisation of germinal life. Weismann posits an egg of germinal intensity, with an intensive field of differenciation as a dynamism of pure potentiality and virtuality. Germinal life refers not to points of origin but solely to moments of creative becoming. In his reconfiguration of the Weismannian legacy – rigorously studied by Keith Ansell Pearson – Deleuze will insist that becoming is less an overdetermined evolution than a creative evolution-involution involving transversal communication between heterogeneous populations of non-individualised singularities. The egg is a rhizome avant la lettre. The egg is an « intensive multiplicity », to use a Bergsonian concept that Deleuze elaborated for years (from the first articles on Bergson in 1956 until the publication of Bergsonism in 1966). It means that becoming and intensive multiplicity are one and the same. In Difference and Repetition and A Thousand Plateaus Deleuze will present « pedagogically » (a pedagogy of concepts…) the controversy between Cuvier and Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire as the opposition between a plane of organisation, a structure of organs developed in an overdetermined evolution, and a plane of composition, going beyond organs to pure materials that enter into various combinations, forming a given organ depending on their degrees of speed and slowness. If Cuvier develops a logic of organs in their relation to a transcendent unity which realises itself in terms of irreducible functional organs, Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire goes beyond organs and functions to Nature as an immanent abstract machine involving materials in intense combinations. It is speed and slowness, relations of movement and rest, that assume priority over the forms of a fixed structure, a fixed organism. It is this mapping of the plane of Nature as an immanent plane of consistency that provides insight into the nature of the BwO. It affirms a molecular plane of Nature traversed by non-formal elements that enter into this or that individuated assemblage. Keith Ansell Pearson’s important book Germinal Life clearly understands this Deleuzian plane as implying an ethology of assemblages, and the egg-plane freed from the continuity of the germ-plasm as allowing for « the powers of life to express a creative evolution beyond entropic containment » – through singularities-events (qua a field of individuation and pre-individual singularities…).

In Spinoza’s Ethics, in the Introduction to Book III, we read that the geometric method is nothing else than a way « to study each thing as if they were bodies, planes, lines, points ». But the point, Deleuze explains, is that the geometric method is necessarily genetic because – using the very same terms – its elements are no longer forms or functions and are distinguished only by movement and rest, slowness and speed… Spinoza’s Substance is a plane of consistency peopled by an infinity of pieces of anonymous matter entering into connections. To every relation of movement and rest corresponds a degree of power, a kind of intensity that affects it. It is in this sense that affects are becomings determining « what a body can do » (the title of chapter XIV of Spinoza and the Problem of Expression), and that the Ethics is an ethology (developed in A Thousand Plateaus). We know nothing about the body until we know what it can do, what its affects are, how it can or cannot enter into composition with other affects. The representation (Descartes) is dissolved by the affection (Spinoza), leading to the specific question of a practical philosophy[[See G. Deleuze, Spinoza. Philosophie pratique, Paris, PUF, 1970 ; re-edited, modified and augmented in 1981 (Paris, Minuit). Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, San Francisco, City Light Books, 1988.. It is on this Spinozist field that the Body without Organs will be projected as an attack on the organism qua a transcendent organisation, and as the immanent alternative of the body opening it up to connections and relations bio-philosophically indissociable from « an impersonal and pre-individual transcendental field », already analysed in terms of an « unconscious surface » in The Logic of Sense.
We read :
« We seek to determine an impersonal and pre-individual transcendental field, which does not resemble the corresponding empirical fields, and which nevertheless is not confused with an undifferentiated depth. [… What is neither individual nor personal are, on the contrary, emissions of singularities insofar as they occur on an unconscious surface and possess a mobile, immanent principle of auto-unification through a nomadic distribution, radically distinct from fixed and sedentary distributions as conditions of the syntheses of consciousness. Singularities are the true transcendental events [… Only when the world, teaming with anonymous and nomadic, impersonal and pre-individual singularities, opens up, do we tread at last on the field of the transcendental. »[[G. Deleuze, Logique du sens, Paris, Minuit, 1969, p. 124-5 ; The Logic of Sense, New York, Columbia University Press, 1990, p. 102-3. See as well, in the Fifteenth series, « Of singularities », the footnote about Simondon’s book which presents it as a new conception of the transcendantal.

The Kantian transcendental field becomes an intensive and nomadic surface leading « unconsciously » to the Spinozist Egg as the formal definition of the BwO. I mean : susceptible to a formal reading, analysable through a continuous logic (the one followed here : in accordance with the logique des énoncés), until we perceive the deep Spaltung of the Body without Organs for philosophical discourse itself.

After Difference and Repetition and Spinoza and the Problem of Expression (both published in 1968), The Logic of Sense (1969) is where Deleuze confronts the concrete affirmation of the Spinozist univocity of Being developed from the rapport of expression – as it implies the parity of the actions/passions of the soul with those of the body, and gives a real dynamic for the anti-symbolic equation Expression = Construction – with Structuralism as the contemporary form of Constructivism. A Constructivism which under-stands the sphere of expression as purely linguistic in the sense that there is no structure without language – verbal or non-verbal. Deleuze explains : in relation to psychoanalysis, there is a structure of bodies in so far as bodies are supposed to talk in a language of symptoms[[This crucial « example » is given by Deleuze at the very beginning of his important article about Structuralism, cf. G. Deleuze, « A quoi reconnaît-on le structuralisme ? », in F. Châtelet (ed.), Histoire de la philosophie, t. VII : Le XXe siècle, Paris, Hachette, 1972 ; republished in G. Deleuze, L’Île déserte, p. 239. « How Do We Recognize Structuralism? » in C. S. Stivale, The Two-Fold Thought of Deleuze and Guattari: Intersections and Animations, New York, The Guilford Press, 1998, p. 259. The article was written in 1967 and is presented as such : « We are in 1967 », underlines Deleuze. Let’s remember that Anti-Œdipe was published in 1972, the same year as the « structuralist » article, but the « Carollian » plane of Structuralism affirmed in the article clearly makes it philosophically contemporary to The Logic of Sense (1969).. Aiming at a « speculative univocity of Being and language », The Logic of Sense is going to be an incredible attempt to examine the conditions under which Structuralism as a « new transcendental philosophy »[[G. Deleuze, « A quoi reconnaît-on le structuralisme ? », p. 244. « How Do We Recognize Structuralism? » in C. S. Stivale, p. 263. may be adequate to the expression of the Untersinn of the chaotic world of bodies, adequate to their affects and mixtures, to the depths and the groundlessness of the body, since sense is nothing else than the event as an incorporal effect of the surface. The main question for the series of The Logic of Sense is to invest, above and beyond the opposition of the ground and the surface, the propositional articulation of sense and language in the actions and passions of bodies able to climb up to the surface of language. Sense being an incorporeal event implies that the depths of the body are expressed as a pure surface, making the language games of Lewis Carroll, the paradoxes of sense and non-sense (the mirror) developed through the double series (bodies-language, « to eat »-« to talk »…), absolutely paradigmatic of a movement that goes from bodies to the incorporeal, in a becoming-unlimited (devenir-illimité) travelling along the surface. Becoming, the unlimited becoming of bodies, is strictly coextensive to language when everything climbs up to the surface. Alice in Wonderland… The language games are surface games, animated nonsenses « circulating » as flat manifestations of the incorporeal essence of sense. Immaterial, sense is nothing else than an effect, expressing any affect as a surface effect – like an optical effect (or effet de miroir).
In the Eleventh series, Deleuze proposes this « explanation » of Structuralism :
« The authors referred to as ‘Structuralists’ by recent practice may have no essential point in common other than this: sense, regarded not at all as appearance but as surface effect and position effect […. Structuralism, whether consciously or not, celebrates new findings of a Stoic and Carrollian inspiration. Structure is in fact a machine for the production of incorporeal sense. » [[G. Deleuze, Logique du sens, p. 88 ; Logic of Sense, p. 71.

With the Thirteenth series (!), « Of the Schizophrenic and the Little Girl », The Logic of Sense reveals itself as a, if not unique, then very singular case in the history of philosophic literature. Breakdown. Breakdown of Structuralism as this new materialism, new atheism, new anti-humanism, of this «productivity that is that of our era » (as it is celebrated in the article « How Do We Recognize Structuralism ? »)[[G. Deleuze, « A quoi reconnaît-on le structuralisme ? », p. 245, p. 269 ; « How Do We Recognize Structuralism? » in C. S. Stivale, p. 264, p. 282.. The breakdown of Carrollian Structuralism is provoked by Artaud’s convulsive Body without Organs as an insurrection of the two « languages » in depth, of corporal actions and passions, which is going to threaten, to menace, to lead to implosion the project of a serial Logic of Sense – and of a « psychoanalysis of sense » (even if Deleuze still distinguishes it from « bad psychoanalysis »). Suddenly, a schizophrenic body emerges that destroys the « superficial » organisation of sense and language, making the question of the thirteenth series : how to conceive of a surface adequate to the ultimate broken depths of the body once the series have disappeared ? At this moment, Artaud’s discovery of a « vital body » cracks the surface « à force de souffrance ». Under the name of the « body without organs of Artaud »[[Deleuze quotes the following passage of Artaud’s in a footnote : « Pas de bouche Pas de langue Pas de dents Pas de larynx Pas d’œsophage Pas d’estomac Pas de ventre Pas d’anus Je reconstruirai l’homme que je suis » (Logique du sens, p. 108). « No teeth No larynx No esophagus No stomach No intestine No anus I shall reconstruct the man that I am » (Logic of Sense, p. 342)., a pure language-affect of breath-words (mots-souffles) and howl-words (mots-cris), of words-actions and words-passions exclusively tonic and not written, is substituted for the effect of language. The language-affect of an ex-pulsive body – or, better, quoting Artaud : « l’espace du souffle entre la fuite de tous les mots »[[A. Artaud, « Projet de lettre à Georges Le Breton », in Œuvres complètes, Paris, Gallimard, vol. XI, p. 187.. It is a machine which breathes.
Deleuze writes – and it has to be quoted at length to feel the Body without Organs dis-organ-ising the philosophical surface (including that of Deleuze’s bio-philosophy, this experience being indissociable from ’68 and from his political decision to work with Guattari in 1969) :
« Nothing is more fragile than the surface. [… We see now that we have changed elements, that we have entered a storm. We might have thought to be still among little girls and children, but we are already in an irreversible madness. We might have believed to be at the latest edge of literary research, at the point of the highest invention of languages and words; we are already faced by the agitations of a convulsive life, in the night of a pathological creation affecting bodies. […
[We are in another world and in an entirely different language. With horror, we recognize it easily: it is the language of schizophrenia. Even the portmanteau words seem to function differently, being caught up in syncopes and being overloaded with gutterals. We measure at the same moment the distance separating Carroll’s language and Artaud’s language – the former emitted at the surface, the latter carved into the depth of bodies. We measure the difference between their respective problems. We’re thus able to acknowledge the full impact of the declarations made by Artaud in his letter from Rodez:
‘I have not produced a translation of “Jabberwocky”. I tried to translate a fragment of it, but it bored me. I never liked this poem, which always struck me as an affected infantilism… I do not like poems or languages of the surface which smell of happy leisures and of intellectual success – as if the intellect relied on the anus, but without any heart or soul in it. The anus is always terror, and I will not admit that one loses an excrement without being torn from, thereby losing one’s soul as well, and there is no soul in “Jabberwocky”… One may invent one’s language, and make pure language speak with an extra-grammatical or a-grammatical meaning, but this meaning must have value in itself, that is, it must issue from torment… “Jabberwocky” is the work of a profiteer who, satiated after a fine meal, seeks to indulge himself in the pain of others… When one digs through the shit of being and its language, the poem necessarily smells badly, and “Jabberwocky” is a poem whose author took steps to keep himself from the uterine being of suffering into which every great poet has plunged, and having been born from it, smells badly. There are in “Jabberwocky” passages of fecality, but it is the fecality of an English snob, who curls the obscene within himself like ringlets of hair around a curling iron… It is the work of a man who ate well – and this makes itself felt in his writing…’
Summing this up, we could say that Artaud considers Lewis Carroll a pervert, a little pervert, who holds onto the establishment of a surface language, and who has not felt the real problem of a language in depth – namely, the schizophrenic problem of suffering, of death, and of life. To Artaud, Carroll’s games seem puerile, his food too worldly, and even his fecality hypocritical and too well bred. » [[G. Deleuze, Logique du sens, p. 101-4 ; Logic of Sense, p. 82-4. We should notice that in his article about Louis Wolfson’s book, Le schizo et les langues, Deleuze writes that the vitalist cosmology of the Artaudian body without organs, because of Artaud’s breath-words, goes beyond the limits of the Wolfsonian « equation » in its proximity to Carroll’s games (G. Deleuze, « Louis Wolfson, ou le procédé », Critique et clinique, Paris, Minuit, 1993, p. 28, n. 5 ; reedition modified of the preface to Wolfson’s book, Paris, Gallimard, 1970, entitled « Schizologie » ; Essays Critical and Clinical, « Louis Wolfson, or, The Procedure », Minneapolis, Minnesota University Press, 1997, p. 16).

We are in another world… In a world that sees through the « ridiculousness of the thinker », of the « abstract thinker », « remaining on the shore », limiting him/herself to the counter-actualization of the violent alternative of the Body without Organs – « to the actor or dancer’s simple, flat representation »[[G. Deleuze, Logique du sens, p. 183-4 ; Logic of Sense, p. 157.. And if, as Deleuze concludes, we would not give a single page of Artaud for the complete works of Carroll, it’s because Artaud’s Body without Organs hurts philosophy in such a way that Deleuzian biophilosophy has no other choice than to act the productivity of the surface from the intensities of the schizo body and « its progressive and creative disorganisation ». It will be the task of Anti-Oedipus to give to contemporary philosophy the plane of immanence as this surface of intensities, without which concepts can’t be real, and as the movement of life going through the material field of thought in a body without subject, interacting a machinic body.

Break, breakthrough without which materialism remains an Idea, or a Decision (Badiou, Lardreau, and their viva the Materialism ![[See the pseudo-anonymous, Vive le materialisme !, Lagrasse, Verdier, 2001.) ; without which conceptual operations can’t be made as physical ones. (The physicality of the concept – as a « center of vibrations » – is developed in What is Philosophy ?, Deleuze and Guattari’s testament-book. But we also have to quote Deleuze’s answer, in an interview from 1980 : « The idea of a non-organic life is constant in A Thousand Plateaus. It’s precisely the life of the concept. » This Nietzschean affirmation associates the Body without Organs with the Dionysian insurrection against the Apollinian world and Schopenhauerian philosophy…) Dionysian breakthrough, without which the Spinozist-Substance-as-a-distribution-of-intensities-at-the-surface-of-the-Egg = BwO can’t be experimented with as the « schizophrenic unconscious » of the world giving its internal conditions to events, as the only consistancy of concepts. (The confrontation Deleuze/Badiou on this question of the Event is, here, absolutely fundamental – knowing that Badiou, in his book about Deleuze, totally eliminated the works with Guattari because he needed to ignore the renewal of Deleuzian philosophy from the BwO’s breakthrough[[Cf. A. Badiou, Deleuze. La Clameur de l’Être, Paris, Hachette, 1997 ; see also the « Dossier Badiou/Deleuze » I published in [Futur Antérieur, n° 43, 1997-98/3->rub133 and[ Multitudes, n° 1, mars 2000->rub80 – and its prolongation in my article [« Badiou. La grâce de l’universel », Multitudes, n° 6, septembre 2001->art88….)It is in this experimentalsense – on a field of transcendantal experimentation – that the Body without Organs is indissociable from the absolute break/down it provoked in the Deleuzian discourse, from the Thirteenth series of The Logic of Sense to the opening of Anti-Oedipus (it cost Deleuze the Collège de France) :
« It breathes, it heats, it eats. It shits and fucks. What a mistake to have ever said the id. Everywhere it is machines – real ones, not figurative ones: machines driving other machines, machines being driven by other machines, with all the necessary couplings and connections. » [[G. Deleuze, [Anti-Œdipe, p. 7 ; [Anti-Oedipus, p. 1.
Substituting this machinic constructivism for the structuralist one, Deleuze and Guattari offer the Body without Organs as the physical identity between Expressionism and Constructivism. Physical identity means that it is not anymore a problem for thought (thought « immanent to life ») but the vital dimension of life into which thought plunges[[Cf. G. Deleuze, « L’immanence : une vie… », Philosophie, n° 47, septembre 1995. Deleuze’s very last text… « Immanence : A Life », in G. Deleuze, Pure Immanence. Essays on Life, New York, Zone Books, 2001. to become philosophy AND non-philosophy, flowing « into this emotion that makes the mind aware of this terrible, disturbing sun of matter, and passes through its white hot flame » (Artaud). A conflagration allowing the philosopher, in this schizo experimentation, « to become nonphilosopher so that non-philosophy becomes the earth and people of philosophy »[[G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, Qu’est-ce que la philosophie ?, Paris, Minuit, 1991, p. 105 ; What Is Philosophy?, New York, Columbia University Press, 1994, p. 109.. The crystallisation on the « BwO » of the viral and rhizomatic diffusion of Deleuzo-Guattarian thought we evoked at the beginning has no other ground than this mutual becoming. It realises the equation Expression = Construction = Becoming (the unthinkable for Badiou’s Lacanian Post/Hyper-Structuralism[[With this equation, we verify that Deleuzo-Guattarian thought is not a Post-Structuralism (if this notion has not a purely chronological meaning). Conversely and strictly speaking, one can say that The Logic of Sense tried to develop a Post-Structuralist philosophy. In his recent book, Le périple structural, figures et paradigme (Paris, Le Seuil, 2002), Jean-Claude Milner presents, quite rightly, Lacanism as a Hyper-Structuralism – and reads Anti-Oedipus as « anti-structure ». ), and involves
« nothing but bands of intensity, potentials, thresholds, and gradients. A harrowing, emotionally overwhelming experience, which brings the schizo as close as possible to matter, to a burning living center of matter »[[Quoting the beginning of this passage from Anti-Oedipus, p. 19 :
« The breasts on [… judge [Schreber’s naked torso are neither delirious nor hallucinatory phenomena: they designate, first of all, a band of intensity, a zone of intensity on his body without organs. The body without organs is an egg: it is crisscrossed with axes and thresholds, with latitudes and longitudes and geodesic lines, traversed by gradients marking the transitions and the becomings, the destinations of the subject developing along these particular vectors. Nothing here is representative; rather, it is all life and lived experience: the actual, lived emotion of having breasts does not resemble breasts, it does not represent them, any more than a predestined zone in the egg resembles the organ that it is going to be stimulated to produce within itself. »
Unsurprisingly, the third Thesis of Viva the Materialism reads : as pure Decision, « Materialism has nothing to do with matter » – this, of course, is said against Deleuze (cf. G. Lardreau, L’exercice différé de la philosophie. A l’occasion de Deleuze, Lagrasse, Verdier, 1999)..

The question, here, is not to answer once more to the mauvais procès regarding the so-called « apology for schizophrenia », supposedly incorporated in the notion of the Body without Organs. Deleuze and Guattari did it at length in A Thousand Plateaus. When the BwO becomes the name of the becoming of philosophy itself, the first question is to determine as precisely as possible the lines of becoming implied by this new feeling. (In the sense in which Artaud wrote that thought « has to be able to answer to all the manifestations of feeling and life »)[[A. Artaud, « Lettre à monsieur le législateur de la loi sur les stupéfiants », Œuvres complètes, Paris, Gallimard, vol. I, p. 68 : « qu’elle [la pensée puisse répondre à toutes les manifestations du sentiment et de la vie »..

I see two lines, which are necessarily and absolutely One, informing and deforming the plane of consistency of Deleuzo-Guattarian thought :
1 / The Logic of Sense becomes a Logic of Sensation ;
2 / Biophilosophy realises itself as a Biopolitics.

To conclude, let’s briefly follow these two lines of becoming.
1 / The aporetic lot of The Logic of Sense is fixed in its last paragraph, when the question of a « something else » remains as the fact of the Stoic-Carrollian logic of sense, and which must await the work of art to come which will only give an answer. In Kafka : Toward a Minor Literature (1975), published by Deleuze and Guattari as a sort of Appendix to Anti-Oedipus, the « something else » is a sequence of intensive states forming a collective becoming which limits Sense to the direction of its « lines of flight ». (« Du sens, subsiste seulement de quoi diriger les lignes de fuite. [Of sense there remains only enough to direct the lines of flight[[G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, Kafka. Pour une littérature mineure, Paris, Minuit, 1975, p. 39 ; Kafka : Toward a Minor Literature, Minneapolis – London, University of Minnesota Press, 1986, p. 21. . ») An asignifying, intensive use of language, « speaking on the same level as states of things (parlant à même les choses )»[[G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, Mille plateaux, Paris, Minuit, 1980, p. 110 ; A Thousand Plateaus, London, Athlone Press, 1988, p. 87., which gives to the syntax the forces’ cry, and makes it a machine of expression in an intense matter = energy. These forces are all positives in relation to the intensity = 0 of the Body without Organs, a « production of the real as an intensive magnitude starting at zero » (that’s why the BwO is an egg)[[G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, Mille plateaux, p. 189-190 ; A Thousand Plateaus, p. 153., and requires an « I feel » deeper than any vécu… To feel is to become, to become-other. I feel that I become means that what is real is the becoming itself, the breakthrough of the nomadic intensities produced on the BwO – and this is not a correspondance of relations making a structure, fixing the becoming in a structure (against Structuralism : « a correspondance of relations does not add up to a becoming »[[Cf. G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, Mille plateaux, p. 290 ; A Thousand Plateaus, p. 237. The critique of Structuralism is developed in Plateau 10 (« Becoming-intense, Becoming-animal, Becoming-imperceptible… »). ). Kafka (the becomings-animal of Kafka) meets Artaud (a world of pure intensities) when Art has no other question than « to capture forces » (capter des forces) because force is the constitutive condition of sensation for a body ; because sensation reaches the body by breaking through the organism which imprisons life. But at this point, Literature, « Minor Literature », must be relieved by Painting, Painting rendering visible, immediatly, the « pure presence of the body », the materiality of the body, its intensive reality as a Body without Organs liberated from its organic representation. (The figure of D.H. Lawrence is important here : not only because he suddenly began to paint in 1926 – four years before his death – ; but after all, because his conception of the plastic arts is based on the reality of a glorious body which, after having animated his literary works, necessarily turned to the pictural act[[See D.H. Lawrence, « Introduction to these paintings », in The Paintings of D.H. Lawrence, Mandrake Press, 1929. In « Pour en finir avec le jugement », chap. XV of Critique et clinique, Deleuze refers the body without organs to both Artaud and Lawrence (p. 164) ; Essays Critical and Clinical, « To Have Done with Judgement », p. 131..) Painting makes the Bwo visible in the sensation : this experience has been Artaud’s, who discovered the « body without organs » through Van Gogh – Van Gogh le suicidé de la société[[Artaud’s texts with the « body without organs » are gathered in the volume XIII ( !) of the Œuvres complètes, Paris, Gallimard. This volume consists of Van Gogh le suicidé de la société (1947) ; Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu (1948) ; Le Théâtre de la cruauté (1948). – and, possibly, anticipated this discovery in drawings which (explains Artaud) « are not anymore artistic themes », « works of art, works of aesthetic simulation ». Action-drawing, says Derrida[[J. Derrida, Artaud le Moma, Paris, Galilée, 2002, p. 98.. (See the sequence : « Couti l’anatomie » [c. september 1945 ; « La potence du gouffre » [c. october 1945 ; « L’exécration du Père-Mère » [april 1946 ; « La projection du véritable corps » [november 1946 – december 1947/january 1948[[These four drawings are presented in the exhibition « Hommage à Antonin Artaud », Museum Quartier, Vienna, 7 September – 17 November 2002, curated by Cathrin Pichler and Hans-Peter Litscher. On the drawing « La potence du gouffre », we read : « La potence du gouffre est l’être et non son âme et c’est son corps ». .) There is no other reason for the Logic of Sense to be substituted with the Logic of Sensation, and to be associated with painting, once painting, action-painting hystericaly presents (« by an excess of presence ») the sequence Expression = Construction = Becoming – and does so without the concept of « sign » (deconstructed, in terms of literature, in the Kafka book). Francis Bacon. Logic of Sensation (1981) follows A Thousand Plateaus (1980) so closely because painting presents materially the work of art as « a being of sensation, and nothing else »[[G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, Qu’est-ce que la philosophie ?, p. 155 ; What Is Philosophy?, p. 164…. Being the most Cezannian of contemporary painters, Bacon makes – Deleuze explains -truth fall back on the body to liberate through its de-formation, its dis-organ-isation, a most profound and almost unlivable Power (une Puissance plus profonde et presque invivable)[[Cf. G. Deleuze, Francis Bacon. Logique de la sensation, Paris, Ed. de la Différence, 1981, chap. VII (« L’hystérie ») and VIII (« Peindre les forces »).. What is this truth ? It is less an aesthetic truth than the truth as pure sensible, the intensive truth of the Body without Organs which embodies aesthetics as aisthesis = sensation. Logic of Sensation means that any true immanence is aesthetic – and that it is the work of art to express it in a politics of sensation, constructing a block of sensation that « stands alone » (the Whiteheadian expression rediscovered by Deleuze and Guattari in What is Philosophy ?) as a new possibility of life.

This means a politics of sensation rather than an « aesthetics » in the common sense of the notion. Because Art is not an end, but a way to draw lines of life, a way to liberate matters of expression in constructing new sensible territorialities which involve real becomings as the real media of Art in its vital association with Non-Art.
(Extending this Artaudian line, we come across the material actions of Viennese Actionism, plunging bodies into the chaos of sensations, dis-organ-ising them to present bodies as Living Paintings of a schizo process involving a « machinic unconscious ». Mühl especially, who proposed the « guiding principle Materie = Farbe », and writes : « in the material action, the body is like a broken egg that lets its yolk be seen »).

2 / That Biophilosophy realises itself as a Biopolitics, as a Politics of Being qua Life constitutively related to Sensation (and not anymore, necessarily, under the conditions of the Unconscious), it means « How Do You Make Yourself A Body Without Organs ? »[[Associated with the Artaudian date of November 28th 1947 – the date of « Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu » – « Comment se faire un Corps sans Organes ? » is the title of Plateau 6. In the Preface to the Italian translation of A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari explain that its difference to Anti-Oedipus is that multiplicity is no longer considered as a synthesis under the conditions of the Unconscious, but as a pure substantive (p. XII). Plateau 6 will develop the idea that Artaud’s Héliogabale and Tarahumaras express precisely this « multiplicity of fusion, the fusibility as infinite zero, plane of consistancy » (p. 196). It means that from Anti-Oedipus to A Thousand Plateaus, Artaud is still at work..
Before being a question, it is a constructive answer to the crack up of a Logic of Sense, as formalised in the Twenty-Second series, « Porcelain and Volcano » :
« If to will is to will the event, how could we not also will its full actualization in the corporeal mixture, subject to this tragic will which presides over all ingestions? [… [Perhaps it is possible to maintain the inherence of the incorporeal crack while taking care not to bring it into existence, and not to incarnate it in the depth of the body? More precisely, is it possible to limit ourselves to the counter-actualization of an event – to the actor or dancer’s simple, flat representation – while taking care to prevent the full actualization which characterizes the victem or the true patient? All these questions point out the ridiculousness of the thinker: [… When Artaud speaks of the erosion of thought as something both essential and accidental, a radical impotence and nevertheless a great power, it is already from the bottom of schizophrenia. Each one risked something and went as far as possible in taking this risk; each one drew from it an irrepressible right. What is left for the abstract thinker once she has given advice of wisdom and distinction? Well then, are we to speak of Bousquet’s wound, about Fitzgerald’s and Lowry’s alcoholism, Nietzsche’s and Artaud’s madness while remaining on the shore? Are we to become the professionals who give talks on these topics? [… Indeed, how are we to stay on the surface without staying on the shore? How do we save ourselves by saving the surface and every surface organization including language and life? How is this politics, this full guerilla warfare to be attained? »[[G. Deleuze, Logique du sens, p. 183-4 ; Logic of Sense, p. 157-8.

A politics, a complete guerilla warfare through which Artaud is Spinoza raised from the dead (Spinoza ressuscité) because it is only from Artaud the Schizo that we can « try to perceive and understand Spinoza by way of the middle »[[G. Deleuze, Spinoza. Philosophie pratique, p. 164 ; Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, p. 122.. It means that the great book about the BwO is the Ethics because the only universal process is Schizophrenia as the field of immanence of desire (it is through the BwO that we desire, the BwO is the continuum of desire). The fact that « the same word, schizo, [… to designate both the eventual breakthough and the possible breakdown, and all the transitions, the implications of the two extremes » is the inevitable confirmation of the absolute productivity of the schizophrenic process, and of its social repression everytime desire is taken away from its field of immanence by the organ-ised transcendances of the Judgement of God. The breakdown : « the more the process of production is led off course, brutally interrupted, the more the shizo-as-entity arises as a specific product »[[G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, L’anti-Œdipe, p. 161-2 ; Anti-Oedipus, p. 136.

If the BwO is the Real, always-already expressed, but which has to be singularly constructed for each of us, there where the intensities go and break through ; if it is « not at all a notion or a concept, but a practice, a set of practices »[[G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, Mille plateaux, p. 186 ; A Thousand Plateaus, p. 149-150. implying a maximum of caution to be able to separate the BwO from its emptied or cancerous doubles, it is because the Body without Organs is the Combat in us. What combats Judgement and all the organ-isations that imprison life, all the regressions that render desire fascist or mortified ; but, after all, as Deleuze explains in this late text, « To Have Done With Judgement », it is the combat between forces, the combat by which a force captures and eliminates others, all these associations of forces creating a selective becoming and produced by a powerfull non-organic vitality. The « aesthetic/aisthetic » truth of the Body without Organs is an art de soi.

Make Combat, not War.
Because the Judgement of God is always on the side of war, against the social power of difference.
« In war,» Deleuze writes in a terribly actual proposition, «the will to power means that the will wants strength [puissance as a maximum of power [pouvoir or domination »[[G. Deleuze, « Pour en finir avec le jugement », in Critique et clinique, p. 167 ; Essays critical and clinical, p. 133..
Combat War – or, Comment se faire un Corps sans organes. This was the beginning of Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu, when Artaud was combatting the American relation to war, « to demonstrate by the crushing properties of force the superiority of American products »[[Cf. A. Artaud, Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu, p. 72 :
«[les Américains veulent à toute force et par tous les moyens possibles faire et fabriquer des soldats
en vue de toutes les guerres planétaires qui pourraient ultérieurement avoir lieu,
et qui seraient destinés à démontrer par les vertus écrasantes de la force
la surexcellence des produits américains,
et des fruits de la saveur américaine sur tous les champs de l’activité et du dynamisme possible de la force. »
English translation in Antonin Artaud Selected Writings, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1988, p. 555 :
« [The Americans want at all costs and by every possible means to make
and manufacture soldiers
with a view to all the planetary wars which might take place,
and which would be intended to demonstrate by the overwhelming virtues of force
the superiority of American products,
and the fruits of American sweat in all fields of activity and of the
superiority of the possible dynamism of force. ».

With Artaud and his burning will « to practise life » (exercer la vie), Deleuze and Guattari draw the lines of a « becoming-revolutionary » for the present world.
This is the BwO Condition for their philosophy to become an onto- ethopoiethics[[In La Signature du monde, ou Qu’est-ce que la philosophie de Deleuze et Guattari ?, Paris, Cerf, 1993, I experimented the concept of « onto-ethology »..

Alliez Eric

Philosophe. Senior Research Fellow à l'université de Middlesex (Londres). A notamment publié : Les Temps capitaux (préface de G. Deleuze), T.I, Récits de la conquête du temps ; T. II, La Capitale du temps, Vol. 1 : L'État des choses, Cerf, 1991/1999 ; La Signature du monde, ou Qu'est-ce que la philosophie de Deleuze et Guattari ?, Cerf, 1993 ; De l'impossibilité de la phénoménologie. Sur la philosophie française contemporaine, Vrin, 1995 ; (dir.) Gilles Deleuze. Une vie philosophique, Synthélabo, 1998 ; Chroma Drama et Biografie der Organlosen Körpers (dir., en collaboration avec E. Samsonow), Vienne, Turia + Kant, 2002/2003 et (avec Jean-Claude Bonne) de La Pensée-Matisse, Le Passage, 2005. Co-auteur (avec Jean-Clet Martin) de L'Œil-Cerveau. Nouvelles Histoires de la peinture, Vrin, 2007. Membre du comité de rédaction de Multitudes.